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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

'Very much a turning point for Yes': Geoff Downes and Chris Squire on the enduring legacy of 1980 ...


The seeds of the on-going Yes/No Yes argument didn’t start with Fly From Here, though that 2011 project actually has a root system which traces back that far. Instead, you must return toDrama — for years an ignored item in the Yes discography — to find the first flowerings of an argument that’s only intensified lately.
Drama, released on August 18, 1980, marked the first recording Yes undertook without Jon Anderson out front — and also the arrival of keyboardist Geoff Downes, who took over after one of Rick Wakeman’s many departures. (Downes says he actually considered, if only briefly,donning a Wakeman-style cape, but ultimately decided he couldn’t pull it off.) In keeping,Drama tended to split the loyalties of Yes’ fanbase.
But not Downes: “I think it’s often overlooked,” he tells us in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown. “It was very much a turning point for Yes, and pointed the band into a different chapter for a different generation.”
In fact, Drama served as a critical part of the bridge between Yes’ well-established progressive structures of the 1970s and the approachable prog-pop that loomed in the decade to follow. Drill in deeper, and it’s also one of the most guitar-focused recordings in Yes’ lengthy history.
That said, while Drama remains an album unlike any Yes has done, it is also completely in keeping with their essential aesthetic. After all, Yes’ ability to adapt (to morph, really, via ever-shifting lineups) has been the lifeblood that’s kept this group going. Drama was, for all of its historical oddities, just another example.

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